Kennedy for president in 1960, as Kennedy stumps in West Virginia before the state's primary election. Discussion Questions 1. Why did JFK campaign in West Virginia?
2. What issue did JFK directly confront in the West Virginia primary? 2. Getting Behind the Candidates Who Will Truly Represent Us As citizens, we have the opportunity to participate directly in electoral politics. There are many ways for citizens to participate, including organizing groups of people to work on behalf of their chosen candidates. This story is about one grassroots group, Neighbors for a Better
Montgomery (NBM), which organized in 2002 to promote Smart Growth in Montgomery
County, Maryland. NBM members were deeply concerned about the pressing challenges to their quality of life, including rampant housing development, clogged roads, and overcrowded schools. As the election neared, NBM hit the ground running by holding issues briefings for candidates and their staffs in an effort to tilt the election debate toward their issues and positions. Having decided on a set of candidates, NMB began working on their behalf, initially going doortodoor to campaign for their candidates. Despite all their hard work, none of
NBM's candidates for atlarge seats on the County Council survived the primary election, but the group made itself heard in local politics. Discussion Questions 3. What motivated the members of NBM to become involved in electoral politics?
4. What did the group do to find acceptable candidates?
5. What strategy did the members of NBM initially pursue?
6. Why did they change their strategy?
3. Rock Around the Voting Booth In 1972, at the height of the Vietnam War when young men over the age of 18 were being drafted and sent overseas, Congress passed a constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age to 18. The idea was that if you were old enough to fight, you were old enough to vote. Since then, however, more young people have chosen not to vote than those who have.
To address the problem of low voter turnout among young people, members of the recording industry began a campaign in 1990 to empower young people and to encourage them to exercise their right to vote. The group's chosen name, Rock the Vote, soon became a familiar catch phrase among the MTV generation. To Jamu Green, Executive Director of Rock the
Vote, the first crucial step in helping young people find their political voice was to promote voting in elections, and so Rock the Vote immediately began a voter registration effort. From the start, Rock the Vote built momentum by enlisting the help of celebrities and partnering with youthoriented media such as MTV. That strategy reaped results as young voter turnout increased by 7 percent in 1992. Rock the Vote next turned its attention to the newly enacted